A Pretty Happy Family


Okay, let’s be accurate! At least 90% of all the good things that have ever happened to me came through the Grace of God and, at most, 10% came from my own smarts or good works.

As an example, today I would like to tell you how blessed I have been to meet (and learn to love) two very special people – Sarah and Sam Ahlstrom.


In 2009, I hired Sarah Jolley to work as a camp staffer at Bear Lake Aquatics. She not only proved to be a great staffer, she also became close friends with my daughter, Hesper. They worked together for two summers.

They continued their friendship as Sarah grew into a beautiful and talented young woman, pursued an education and served a mission for her Church in Russia. Soon after returning from her mission, she was looking for a place to live in Salt Lake and Hesper suggested she rent a room in our now-almost-empty house.

This was one of those 10% moments, when I was smart enough to agree and, in addition, hire her as Health Officer in the Millcreek Canyon Camps. 


I inherited Sam Ahlstrom.

He had worked up Millcreek Canyon for years and was directing one of the Cub camps when I became the canyon director.  To say he was full of it (meaning, among other things, ideas about improving camp) was a serious understatement. He was smart, talented and very personable.

In another 10% moment, I was smart enough to recognize Sam’s amazing abilities. I latched onto (he says stole) his amazing ideas and we worked together making them happen. I brought him to the attention of the council administrators and pushed until they (to their credit) hired him as a professional Scouter. 


The summer that Sarah worked for me in the canyon, she and Sam met. It wasn’t long before they both had their own 10% moment and married. Soon after, Sarah gave birth to a sweet little girl they called Zoe.

Now Sarah and Sam are great people, but telling you about my friendship with them in not why I am posting today. I am telling you their story because in 2019 their cute little girl was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome.

According to Rhettsyndrome.com Zoe’s condition “is a rare genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of the child’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily.”  As you can imagine this news came as a shock to them and changed their lives.

What you may not be able to imagine is the faith and determination with which this couple has helped their daughter deal with this challenge. They have also been blessed to find great resources to help them help their daughter.


Luckily, you don’t have to hear me try to outline all of this because they are doing it themselves. They have a wonderful podcast called the PRETTY HAPPY PODCAST in which they not only tell their story, but share the stories of other families dealing with Rett Syndrome.

The podcast is informative, but it is so much more. It’s actually fun. It’s filled with entertaining content for families, information on Rett Syndrome and news of the Ahlstrom family. Most of all it oozes with the loving and fun personalities of these wonderful parents that I have been so blessed to know. 

Please check it out!

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